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[ga] Re: International Dates

Patrick, and all those who replied,

It may not be worthed continuing, and maybe out of the scope of this list, 
but the point is, IMHO, not what the most common use in which country is, 
but what is the "standard".

Indeed, ISO did not standardize just the country codes (ISO-3166): you may 
have a look at ISO 8601:1988 and ISO 8601:1997 "Representation of dates and 
The document states that the dates in day+month+year format(1) should be 
indicated as "ccyy-mm-dd" (please note the presence of the century as well). 
There are also other acceptable formats, like "ccyyddd", where "ddd" is the 
day of the year "ccyy" since the first of January, or "ccyy-Www-d", where 
"ww" is the numer of the week and "d" is the day of the week.
Incidentally, the document also defines the format of time-of-day (which is, 
surprise surprise, exactly the one that Elisabeth is using for timings of 
teleconferences and other events).

I believe that we should not re-invent the wheel when an international body 
like ISO has solved the problem once and for good.


(and yes, Ben + crew did an outstanding job, once again)


>From: "Patrick Corliss" <patrick@quad.net.au>
>To: "Roberto Gaetano" <ga_list@hotmail.com>
>CC: "[ga]" <ga@dnso.org>, "Ben Edelman" <edelman@law.harvard.edu>
>Subject: International Dates
>Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 00:22:18 +1000
>Hi Roberto
> > When you say "6/4/01" in the subject line, you really mean "2001-06-04"
>In England and Australia the date is written dd-mm-yy as in 25/05/99.  I
>still find it very hard to decipher a date with low numbers like 6/4/01.  I
>think it is the 6th April rather than 4th June.  Whenever I see such a 
>I need to check other dates in the set -- if there are any -- to work out
>which format is being used.
>Some years ago I heard that there was an International Standard that did 
>use numbers at all.  The format used was that found on most date stamps
>(over here at least).  That uses three letter months such as JAN, MAR and
>So you would have a date like 25 MAY 99.  It was considered very good
>because you did not need a hyphen as a separator - the numbers were either
>side of a word.  It was even possible to squash them together (without
>spaces) as 25MAY99.
>I am not altogether sure how "international" this standard can be when the
>names of the months are clearly in English.  In French I suppose you would
>need MAI instead of MAY, for example.  With hyphens, it's the date format I
>prefer when working with Microsoft Excel spreadsheet eg 25-May-99 now
>Of course the numeric reverse date format 2001-05-25 is the best naming
>system to use should you wish to list items in date order.  I often use 
>characteristic with file naming and find it most convenient.  Either that 
>forwards (as in the 25-05-2001) is more logical because the date is
>ascending or descending laterally.
>But you are assuming Roman notation for numerals.  You are, no doubt, aware
>that many languages such as Arabic have a different script for numerals.
>Which is perhaps anomalous since I understand ours is considered Arabic
>notation ;-)
>But I certainly thank Ben and the Berkman Centre for their help with 
>out the time in Stockholm.  That's a particular difficulty as was noted in
>Best regards
>Patrick Corliss
>----- Original Message -----
>From: Roberto Gaetano <ga_list@hotmail.com>
>To: <edelman@law.harvard.edu>
>Cc: <ga@dnso.org>
>Sent: Monday, June 04, 2001 8:24 AM
>Subject: [ga] Re: UPDATE: Open Mic Period Rescheduled to 6/4/01 9AM
> > News from Ben, that there will be a chance to submit comments tomorrow
> > below).
> > My only comment, besides the compliments to Ben + the Berkman Center for 
> > job well done once again (that I have seen this time from the other side
> > the Web camera), is that when addressing an international audience the 
> > format for dates should be avoided.
> > When you say "6/4/01" in the subject line, you really mean "2001-06-04", 
> > believe ;>)
> >
> > Regards
> > Roberto

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